All-in-One Controllers Do Networking, Too

Each One Pairs Dual Ethernet Ports With Multiple Fieldbus Interfaces

By ControlGlobal.com

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Wago Corp.'s PFC200 line of four new programmable logic controllers provides an all-in-one approach to demanding measuring and control applications inside a small footprint. The PFC200 line is powered by high-speed, 600-mHz, ARM Cortex A8 processors, according to Charlie Norz, Wago's product manager. In spite of its power, even the largest of the line has a small footprint of approximately 4 x 4 x 4 in. The PFC200 controllers are multi-taskers.

Each one pairs dual Ethernet ports with multiple fieldbus interfaces. This enables the controllers to serve as fieldbus gateways, while communicating with other control systems. Users simply change between integrated ports to switch a field device between CANopen, Profibus or Serial RS-232/RS-485 within one unit. No third-party converters are required. This reduces costs while conserving DIN-rail space.

The controllers are also extremely flexible. Compatibility with DHCP, DNS, SNTP, FTP, Telenet and HTTP protocols enables the units to interface with standard PLC applications and other control systems. Safe connections are ensured via SSH, HTTPS and FTPS. For communication with higher- and lower-level systems, that is MES, SCADA and device-level components, each controller features 256 Mbytes of internal flash memory and SD/SDHC card capability (up to 32GB). A total of 128 Kbytes of retained memory is provided for non-volatile storage of retained PLC variables.

"The thing that makes this product unique is that it has a number of different fieldbus interfaces on it," says Norz. "It can be used as a gateway between a CAN system and an Ethernet system, for example. I/O modules can also be used for direct control from the device."

Part of the fieldbus-independent Wago-I/O-System, the PFC200 line has access to 400+ analog, digital and specialty modules. This includes compatibility with hazardous location devices without separate components, such as Zener barriers. Users can cost-effectively extend the functionality of existing hazardous location applications—particularly in petroleum processing.

"This is going to be especially attractive to oil and gas and off-shore applications because it's so small and powerful," says Norz.

To suit a very diverse application range from textile manufacturing to marine engineering, the controllers employ IEC 61131-3-compatible Codesys software. This provides users familiar with standard programming languages, such as Ladder Logic, with an easy-to-use, environment for PLC programming and process visualization. More advanced users have the freedom of writing projects in C, PHP or shell scripts. Regardless of language, all programming and libraries created will interact with Codesys applications.

Each PFC200 controller carries 13 LEDs to provide operational information, such as system fieldbus and user status, at a glance. An operation mode switch (run, stop and reset) resides on the top of each controller for additional flexibility.

To provide robustness and reliability, Wago has minimized moving hardware in the PFC200 series. The units do not rely on internal cooling fans, keeping energy requirements low. The absence of rotating storage media and batter-free buffering of the real-time clock also enhance reliability, while making the units extremely shock-resistant. Wire terminations are provided by maintenance-free Cage Clamp spring pressure technology.

To support varying applications, the PFC200 line spans from an entry-level controller (Ethernet connectivity and serial connections) to a flagship unit with Ethernet, serial, CAN and Profibus connectivity. The multi-tasking PFC200 controllers enable users to perform several tasks simultaneously.
The PFC200 line will be available to customers by the end of September.

For more information, go to www.wago.us or call 800/346-7245.

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